Maximize Your Influence

One of the key ways to keep your competency on track is to be a lifetime learner. We consider others to be competent when we see them continually learning and advancing their training and education. I can remember going to buy computer products and discovering that I knew more about the product than the sales reps did (and I didn’t know much). In an attempt to cover up their lack of knowledge, these ill-informed salespeople tried to bluff their way through my questions. If they had kept themselves educated about the product, the field, and the industry, then they would not have lost my trust in them as competent professionals—and they would not have lost a customer. Learn to become the best in your field. Demonstrate you know your area of expertise. You should know more about your subject than 99 percent of the population.


The following are some specific ways you can gain and strengthen your competence, both actual and perceived:


  • Degree(s)
  • Professional standing
  • Affiliations with respected organizations
  • Publications
  • Referrals
  • Endorsements
  • Reputation
  • External surroundings
  • Definite opinions
  • Testimonials
  • Passion
Direct download: Podcast_136.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am CDT

After briefly mentioning it on last week's episode, Kurt and Steve quickly learned that most have a lot of "feelings about" the urban phenomena, RBF (otherwise known as Resting Bitch Face).  So they dived in a little more and wouldn't you know it...there's an actual website that will tell you if you have it!  All we ask is that if you do, you send us your picture to  We want to see what RBF looks like!

Ingratiation: Make Others Feel Important

Ingratiation is gaining favor by deliberate effort. Ingratiation techniques can include compliments, flattery, and agreeableness. Ingratiation can also involve a special recognition of someone such as, "We don't usually do this, but in your case I'm going to make an exception," or "I am personally going to take care of this matter and see that you get what you want." Many people consider ingratiation sucking up or brown-nosing, but it is an effective technique for making others more persuadable. The reason this strategy works is because The Law of Esteem increases likability and promotes an increase in their self-esteem

Research has demonstrated these conclusions about using ingratiation. In one study, "ingratiators" were perceived as more competent, motivated, and qualified for leadership positions by their supervisors.  In another study, subordinates who used ingratiation developed an increased job satisfaction for themselves, their coworkers, and their supervisor.  In yet another study, ingratiators enjoyed a 5 percent edge over noningratiators in earning more favorable job evaluations.  Ingratiation works even when it is perceived as a deliberate effort to win someone over. Our esteem is so starved that we accept any flattery or praise we can get. 

Interesting Ingratiation Facts

•           It is better to use one great effective ingratiation method, than lots of smaller ones or in other words, less is more.


•           Ingratiators will be judged more positively using opinion or compliments conformity by the prospect than by a bystander.


•           Ingratiation will always work better when we are using downward influence (coworker, employee, you are their manager)


•           When we are attempting upward influence. (boss, CEO, power player)  Using apology, self- deprecation are more successful when you are persuading up or there is a large difference in status.  Using favors or compliments have little effect.


•           When ingratiating someone and they know you have an ulterior motive and it is transparent it will likely fail and decrease their liking towards you.

Direct download: Podcast_135.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02pm CDT

The worst thing for a persuader is that your audience members probably won’t ever confront you about your dishonesty or deception. They are not going to tell you that they think you are lying. They’ll just never work with you again and they’ll then tell all their family and friends about the bad experience they had with you behind your back.


Even if you’re an honest person of admirable character, it is human nature for people to cast sweeping judgments and formulate opinions without all the facts.  So, if you want genuine trust and lasting persuasion, you must avoid even the slightest appearance of anything that might be considered dishonest.  If you never place yourself in a situation where one might be misled about you or your integrity, then your good, hard-earned reputation will never be compromised.  Don’t embellish the story to make it sound better; don’t omit certain information to cover your own skin.      


What are some nonverbal behaviors that will trigger incongruence and a sense of deception?


Forced eye contact

Shifting back in chair

Rubbing lips

Scratching your face

Dilated pupils


Pitch of voice rising

Direct download: Podcast_134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:34am CDT

self-perception bias

Ever wonder why others can’t smell their own stink? (perfume or body order)  We are good at judging others and finding out what is wrong with them, but that analysis does not seem to work on ourselves.  The same is true for our skills.  We have to have the ability to honestly access ourselves – both our strengths and weaknesses.  Then find the skills and the discipline to improve our faults.  We always will feel we must gloss over our weaknesses to make things seem better than they actually are. We also lie to ourselves about our incomes, our debt, and our true weight.  When you ask husbands and wives individually about what percent of the housework they each do – the numbers never add up.  Most people will rate their people skills as above average.  We all know that is not true.  If you want to see human blindness and bias in action, all you have to do is go to a sporting event as a neutral party and listen to the bias and comments of each opposing side.


The Research

To hit this point home we need to discover our own weaknesses and be honest with our own personal reality.  Let’s take a look at some of the studies on self perception bias.  To enhance your success and your influence, you need to know exactly what skills you have mastered and which ones you need work on.  Isn’t it amazing how we tend to overestimate everything from grades and physical appearance to the possibility of divorce.   If you were in sales and you were asked to rate your ability to connect with people or your product knowledge, you would be 90 percent likely to rate yourself above average on these skills, even though mathematically the validity of your assertion should be around 50 percent.     You know all those managers you have met over the years?  Over 90 percent of them will rate themselves better than the average manager.   Did you know 80% of individuals may perceive themselves as being brighter, better drivers and more able entrepreneurs than their average peers.   One study even found that most people believe they are more ___________ than the average person.  

•           Athletic

•           Intelligent

•           Organized

•           Ethical

•           Logical

•           Interesting

•           Fair-minded

•           Attractive 


The Solution

It is all about true self-assessment.  When I teach influence or self mastery seminars I ask my students to list the top ten reasons for their lack of success.  They find plenty of reasons why it is not their fault for their inability to achieve their goals, but they rarely take ownership of their weaknesses or admit that it could be them.  You can always ask yourself - What traits do I need to develop to take my life, my career and my income to the next level?  My research of human nature shows that there are five critical areas that most people assess to have much higher skills than they actually have.  When other people assess themselves of these skills, their scores are much lower.  These are the five areas.


1.         People skills/empathy

2.         Persistence/determination

3.         Communication/listening

4.         Personal mastery

5.         Persuasion skills

Direct download: Podcast_133.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm CDT